Constitution and by-laws of American Checker Federation by-laws, Section 3
Article VII: “Tournaments and matches involving national championships shall
be played under a style of play (style of opening) and/or system approved
and announced by the Executive Committee. The ACF shall encourage
GO-AS-YOU-PLEASE, TWO-MOVE RESTRICTION, THREE-MOVE RESTRICTION, MASTER
RESTRICTION (11-MAN BALLOT), and any mixture of these that may contribute to
the popularity of the game. The European version of Pool Checkers or
Spanish Pool is not to be promoted.” These rules governing the 2016
National Tournament include those items approved by the ACF Board of
Directors at its official meeting at the 1972 National Tournament in
Memphis, Tennessee, August, 1972, at the Board meeting at the 1980 National
Tournament in Longview, Texas, August 16, 1980 establishing the formula for
the split of prize formula between Master, Major, and Minor Divisions, by
the mail vote of Master players in November, 1983 for the specific prize
formula for their division and for use of the “Tough Deck” for their
division, by player vote regarding games per round at 2014 Tennessee Open;
and those items adopted by mail vote of the Executive Committee as dictated
by the experience of the past National Tournament played at Swiss System.
This document also reflects inclusion of harmonized checker rules
implemented by the World Checkers & Draughts Federation (WCDF) in 2008.
ACF National Tournament will be held to benefit all players, and to
determine the U.S. National Champion until the next National Tournament.
Normally, the three-move restriction tournament will be bi-annual in the
even numbered years.
III. Tourney Type and Entrants’ Qualifications
national tournament will consist of Master, Major and Minor Divisions, each
having its own independent tournament. All three tournaments (Master,
Major, and Minor) will be conducted under the Swiss System rules detailed in
entrants to the tournament must be ACF members in good standing for the year
in which the tournament is held. This requirement is over and beyond the
entry fee established by the Executive Committee. Entrants under 21 may be
Association Members, but regular dues will be deducted from any prize money
paid to an Associate.
will, upon registration, classify themselves into one of the three divisions
in which they will play – Master, Major, or Minor.
divisions will use the three-move Ballot from the 156 standard openings
fees shall be $20 for the three classes. Life members receive $10 discount
on their fees.
IV. Classification and Seeding
of the Major division of any of these national tournaments will be required
to play in the Masters Division for the next three tournaments. The winner
of the Minors will have to play in the Majors for the next three
tournaments. (This requirement was effective starting with the 1968
Tournament Seeding Committee will be appointed by the Executive Committee to
administer and approve the classification of the entrants.
Classification (Master, Major, or Minor) is based on player rating (with ACF
ratings as the default rating system). Division cutoffs shall be Masters:
2000 and above; Majors 1700 to 1999; Minors 1699 and below. If too few
players are classified into the Minor Division, then those players will be
combined into the Major Division.
V. Rounds per Day and Hours of Play
General registration for Masters shall be
complete on the evening prior to the first day of play. Registration should be completed by noon of the first day of
the tournament for Majors/Minors with pairings for all divisions to be made
as soon as practical. The Master Division will be paired first, then the
Majors and Minors. There are two games per round.
Masters Division tournament will play twelve (12) rounds over four (4)
days. The Master Division will play three rounds each day, tentatively
proposed as – 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., and 4:30
p.m. to 7:30 p.m. When another round is to be started on the same day,
pairings for it will be made immediately following completion of the
Majors and Minors Divisions will play a total of ten (10) rounds. On Day
One, two rounds are played at 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. and at 4:30 p.m. to
7:30 p.m. On Days Two and Three, three rounds are played at 8:30 a.m. to
11:30 a.m.. 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., and 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. On Day
Four, two rounds are played at 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and at 12:30 p.m. to
3:30 p.m. Where clocks are not used, and should a round not be finished in
three (3) hours, the Referee may allow game to continue through the break
period, but may need to propose a way to quickly resolve the game in order
to promptly pair and start the next round.
no scheduled meal breaks in these periods for any of the three divisions.
Players must arrange these breaks by mutual arrangement with opponents.
Tournament games take priority over eating!
round times are subject to change pending other tournament or hotel
VI. Penalties for Lateness
general, any player not on hand for the play within 30 minutes of the
scheduled starting time for a round shall be forfeit one game, and shall
forfeit two games if one hour late. See instead rule B for lateness when
using a time clock.
Referee shall have the authority to grant any player some delay if warranted
by circumstances. For a match where use of clocks is intended, the Referee
shall have the authority to start a match-clock on any match unduly delayed
by an unexcused, tardy player. The clock will be started on that player
after a suitable grace period (for example, 5-15 minutes) in the first
hour. The Referee may participate in choosing colors and opening when one
or both players are absent. When both players are absent, then two clocks
should be started, one for each player.
VII. Officials and Committee
President shall appoint an official Referee (Tournament Controller) for the
tournament. The Referee (with support from any approved assistants or
scorekeepers, who can act on behalf of the Referee) shall have the authority
to interpret and enforce these rules and the standard rules of the game.
The Referee shall decide all such matters in accordance with his/her
understanding of customary practice and fair play. Decisions of the Referee
shall be final and binding on all entrants.
Referee will appoint an Adjudication Committee if and when adjudication is
required for an unfinished game. (See X.B(d) of this section). The
executive Committee shall appoint all other committees for the tournament.
players in a round shall ballot for the openings to be played by random draw
from an approved three-move deck (156 Openings). Players shall draw for
colors (red or white) to start the first game, and switch sides for the
second game of the round. The same opening shall be played for both games
of a round.
IX. Time Out
player shall not leave the immediate area of the board during a game, except
as officially excused by the Referee, other than to go to the toilet or for
a smoking break. In these latter instances, the clock shall be kept
running. A person appointed by the Referee may accompany the excused
X. Time Limit on Moves
match in the Master Division shall be timed by “match clocks.” The clocks
will be set according to one of the following two options. 1) At beginning
of the round, 90 minutes will be set on both players' side of the clock. Or
2) (this option requires digital clock with appropriate program) 80 minutes
+ 10-second increment will be set on both players' side of the clock. In
other words, each player earns additional 10 seconds of time with each press
of the clock. If the players cannot mutually agree on which of these time
options to use, then the decision shall be decided at random (e. g., coin
whose time expires forfeits the current game, as well as the next game if
not started. The clocks shall be paused between games, but the clock
times shall not be reset prior to the second game. Whatever time shows
on the clocks at the conclusion of the first game is the time the player has
to play the entire second game. The number of moves made is not relevant
with respect to time control.
player’s clock runs independently during his/her turn to move, and each
player is charged independently with the obligation to complete his/her own
games within the time allotment. .
game starts, Red’s clock is started, Red’s first balloted move is made,
Red’s clock is stopped, and White’s is automatically started, etc.
Alternatively, the three balloted moves may be played prior to starting
white's clock for white's second move. It is the responsibility of the
player making a move to stop his/her own clock; the player’s move is not
legally complete until the player’s clock is stopped. The Referee may also
call attention to impending time trouble (5 minutes or less prior to a time
control), and spectators are never to do so. Time requirements are still
the responsibility of the individual players, and continued inattention to
proper clock operation can result in forfeiture of the game.
evidence of the match clocks shall be considered conclusive if there are not
evident defects in the clocks. The player claiming any clock defective must
do so when the player becomes aware of the malfunction.
game must be interrupted through the fault of neither player, both clocks
the game, each player is required, either to:
player in time shortage (5 minutes or less) is not obliged to continue
recording every move made in the game during that phase, but instead may
place a tick on their score sheet after every move until the game is
concluded. When a flag has fallen or game concluded, the player must update
their score sheet completely using standard notation. If both players are
in time shortage, the Referee can be present to keep a record of the moves
Because the Master Division is open-ended without rigid round-ending time,
it is important that the Master Division matches are not subject to the
One-Minute Rule because of this mandatory use of clocks.
and Minor Divisions
the time clocks or the ordinary five-minute rule shall apply to timing
moves. However, since it is impossible to provide a timekeeper for every
board, the players must observe the five-minute rules on their own. Any
player at any time has the right to ask for the timekeeper to conduct the
five-minute rule for any match that he or she finds is moving too slowly. A
clock cannot be introduced into a game that is already in progress.
players mutually agree to use match-clock, or if the Referee assigns a
clock, they shall observe all the clock rules of the Master Division given
in X.A.(a-i) of this Section.
Referee will make every effort to prevent slow-moving matches by assigning
timekeepers or match-clocks, as required. But there may be unavoidable
instances of a game not being completed toward the end of a game. For these
cases, the “Lowder Rule” (One Minute per Move) shall apply as follows: The
Referee will warn the players 30 minutes before the end of the round time.
The Referee, at a later time of his/her choosing, will require each player
to make a move within one minute of each turn to move. The Referee will. at
minimum, give a 10-second warning before the expiration of the minute, and
will declare the game forfeited if the player has not moved within the
one-minute period. This ONE-MINUTE RULE is for the purpose of avoiding
adjudication by enabling the players to reach their own result.
resort cases, which cannot be decided even with the ONE-MINUTE RULE, the
Referee shall appoint an Adjudication Committee of three expert players to
adjudicate the result of an unfinished game that occurs when reaching the
end of the scheduled round. A high-level program may be consulted, but the
entered position and move should be confirmed for accuracy. Adjudication
decisions are binding and final. There shall be no appeal of “post-mortem”
analysis permitted. An adjudication win can only be awarded by unanimous
vote of the Committee.
shall be started later than 30 minutes before a round time is scheduled to
end. Any game, not started in accordance with this rule, shall be declared
XII. Recording of Games
Each Master Player in each match has an obligation to turn in a legible copy
of the games before the next round begins. That is, both copies, one from
each player, are necessary to permit crosschecking for recording errors.
Each player shall be responsible for verifying that the games and score for
each round are turned in to the Referee, or prize money may become
forfeited. Major and Minor players are not required to record their games,
but are encouraged to do so.
XIII. Credit to Tournament Winners
with the greatest number of Match Points shall be declared the winner of
that player’s division. If two or more players are tied in Match Points for
each of the several positions down through the field, the total prize money
for these tied positions shall be divided equally among the tied Match Point
players, including first place. When match points are tied, the final
position standings shall be determined by computing Honor Points. (Section
Two - IV)
first place tie in both Match and Honor Points occurs in the Master
Division, the tied players shall be given an opportunity for a playoff.
Otherwise, a national co-championship shall be declared.
winner of the Master Division shall be recognized as the U.S. National
Tournament champion until the next National Tournament.
absence of a separate National Youth Tournament, the regular ACF member
being 21 (or under) years of age who achieves the highest standing in the
tournament shall be recognized as the U.S. Junior Champion until the next
National Tournament. An Associate Member shall not be so recognized.
Ordinarily, any position in the Masters would rank ahead of any in the
Majors or Minors, and any Majors position over any Minors. However, the
Executive Committee will resolve any conflict between the positions of
junior players competing in different divisions.
XIV. Prize Fund Distribution
of prize money among the three divisions will be the formula approved by the
ACF Executive Committee at the 1994 National Tournament. However, it is
recognized that subsequent funds may supersede this process. For example,
the Gene Lindsay Fund, effective 2008, designates additional prize money
allocated specifically to the Masters division.
money paid to the winning positions in Major and Minor Divisions will be
determined by a Prize Committee made up of members of that division,
appointed by the Executive Committee. They are to follow the guidelines
approved by the ACF Executive Committee.
Executive Committee will appoint a Prize Committee who will determine Master
Section Two Swiss
I. Number of Rounds and Games per Round
otherwise noted, all three tournaments – Masters shall play twelve (12)
rounds (Matches) consisting of two (2) games per round. Majors and Minors
shall play ten (10) rounds (Matches) consisting of two (2) games per round.
matches must be played to a decision. NO AGREED-UPON RESULTS ARE PERMITTED.
Both players who are party to any such agreement shall receive zero (0)
Match Points for that round.
II. Masters Match Point Awards (Ballot Scoring instituted by vote for
3-move Nationals in 2012)
Match Points are at stake for each two game round. A player winning both
games is awarded four (4) Match Points, whilst the opponent is awarded zero
(0) Match Points. A player winning one game and drawing the other game is
awarded four (4) Match Points, whilst the opponent is awarded zero (0) Match
Points. When both games are drawn both players receive two (2) Match Points.
When each player has won one game each both players receive two (2) Match
final position standings, the number of games won will have no bearing.
receiving a bye will receive four (4) Match Points for that round. A
forfeit is treated as a win for Rule A above. A player winning a forfeited
round (with no games played) will receive four (4) Match Points.
III. Majors and Minors Match Point Awards
Each game is scored two points for a win and one point for a draw. There
are four (4) Match Points available for each two game match played. A
player receiving a bye will receive three (3) Match Points for that round.
Two (2) Match Points per game are awarded for a forfeit, with four (4)
Match Points awarded should the opponent fail to appear for both games in
IV. Honor Points Awards
completion of the tournament, positions tied in Match Points shall be
sequenced by computing Honor Points as follows: Each player will receive as
Honor Points the total of all Match Points of this or her opponents,
excluding the Match Point score of the lowest ranking opponent. The object
of this exclusion is to compensate for the luck of the paring in the early
rounds; i.e. when strong players and weak players might be paired by chance.
receiving a bye receives zero (0) Honor Points for that round.
computing a player’s Honor Points against an opponent who has dropped out of
the tournament, the players receive as Honor Points the Match Points the
dropout would have received if the dropout had completed the tournament,
playing at the same rate. The dropout is given a projected total for all
rounds, but not to exceed 36 Match Points for Masters, or 30 points for
Majors/Minors. Dropouts often withdraw because they are playing poorly.
Thus, rule A, above, for computing Honor points often enables the dropout’s
score to be discarded. This computation for dropouts applies only to
computing Honor Points for players finishing the tournament. It does not
alter, in any way, the actual Match Points scored by the dropout. A
dropout's final position is immaterial and need not be computed, as the
dropout is not eligible for any prize.
IF YOU MUST WITHDRAW, LET THE REFEREE KNOW IN ADVANCE!!! This Swiss System
permits the pairing to be adjusted for your withdrawal, but your name must
be withdrawn from the pairing cards before a round is paired. Otherwise, a
forfeit or bye can be unnecessarily created in a round.
V. Pairings and the Bye
round pairings in all divisions shall be made by random draw among all
players of the division or matching the top ½ of players based on FIDE with
bottom ½ of players based on FIDE in order of FIDE.
are an odd number of players in a division, the unpaired player out in the
pairing process will receive a bye. Only one bye will be allowed to each
player in the entire tournament (except for a situation where there are more
rounds than players).
second and later rounds, pairings are made by draw among players with equal
MATCH POINTS, starting with the highest accumulated totals. Acceptable ways
to pair players of equal match points are random pairings or FIDE pairings.
In rounds but the last round, if the drawing produces a re-pairing, that
pairing will be broken and the drawing will be made again, until a fresh
pairing is achieved in that Match Point group. This may often require that
one or more players be dropped to the next MATCH POINT group. If so, those
dropped down will be paired first. In an odd-number group of MATCH POINT
equals, the last name out drops to the next lower MATCH POINT group and is
paired first in that group, with pairings always subject to fresh-pair
requirements. These procedures are used down through each set of MATCH
POINT groups until all players have been paired.
all rounds accept the last round, players who have been paired before will
not be paired again, except for the two lowest pairings in the 2nd
and 3rd to last rounds. These may be paired again, if absolutely
necessary, to prevent breaking pairings all the way to the top.
last round, re-pairings are permitted and are sometimes required in the same
MATCH POINT group. If there are only two players, for example, in any MATCH
POINT group, starting at the top, as before, these two must be paired; even
though they may have been paired in an earlier round. However, a fresh
pairing, if possible in the same MATCH POINT group, has priority over a
re-pairing. That is, if there are three or more players in the class, no
re-pairing is permitted if a fresh pairing is possible. The object of the
last-round re-pairing requirement is to enable the players chasing the
leader to have the chance to overtake the leader in a head-to-head ‘FINALS’
match, though they have played the leader previously.
last round of the Majors and Minors divisions only, players may notify the
Referee that they elect to not play the last round, but leave the tournament
early. Such notification must be given to the Referee before round pairings
begin. Players electing this option will receive a two (2) point score for
that round (a drawn round). Players must leave the tournament before last
round play begins, or they will receive a zero (0) point score (forfeited
VI Alternative Pairing Methods
At discretion of Referee or rules Committee, a round-robin type
pairing method instead of Swiss, or in conjunction with Swiss, may be
adopted for a division that consists of 12 or fewer players.
When round-robin pairing is used, scoring for withdrawn players will
be handled as follows: In the event that a player withdraws after the 5th
round without forfeiting, the dropout's remaining opponents shall receive a
score equivalent to a bye. If a player drops out prior to the 5th round for
Masters (or prior to 4th round for Majors/Minors), leaving an odd number of
players in the division, then all opponents receive the equivalent of a bye
for this scheduled round, including those opponents who played the dropout
in the early rounds (their original match result is voided, but that
original score will be submitted for ratings.). Other more complicated
dropout scenarios shall be handled at discretion of Referee and/or rules
Section Three Supplementary Rules
I. Standard Rules
The current standard rules of the checkers as published
by the World Checkers & Draughts Federation, and as interpreted by the
Referee, shall be in effect. Rules in this document shall have precedence
over the standard rules where there is a conflict.
II. Additional Rules for Conduct of Players and Spectators
will not be permitted in the main playing area. A smoker will be entitled
to a five-minute smoking break between games. Players may designate an
isolated area for smoking and use when mutually agreeable, but smokers
should also adhere to local indoor smoking ordinances.
using profanity in the playing room will meet with a warning from the
Referee or from any member of the Board of Directors. A board member must
notify the Referee of the warning. Should such profanity continue, the
penalty will be disqualification for that round and until the individual
ceases such behavior.
Intoxication will not be tolerated in the playing room. The penalty will be
disqualification for that round and until the individual becomes sober.
Participants should use checker equipment conforming to WCDF rules
specifications. Worn, off-color, or numbered checkerboards are discouraged
and may be refused by the opponent.
shall enter the playing room with appropriate dress.
Excessive or disruptive talking is not permitted in the playing room when
games are in progress.
should understand that WCDF Rules require that a playable checker touched
during normal play must be moved. If the checker is moved in a definite
direction, the move must be completed in that direction. Any dispute in
this matter must be reported to the Referee for resolution before the next
should understand that no coaching, commenting, kibitzing, or interference
with a game by non-participants will be tolerated.
are reminded that their first duty upon completion of a match is to report
their score to the Referee.
Electronic communication devices, or other devices capable of analyzing
moves, are not permitted during play, unless authorized by the Referee, such
as an official’s laptop to conduct tournament business. ANYONE CAUGHT WITH
A MOBILE PHONE RINGING DURING THEIR GAME WILL FORFEIT THE GAME.
III. Additional Rules for Illegal Moves
addition to illegal moves defined in WCDF rules Section 1.25, the following
situations are also considered illegal moves when a player:
On their turn to play, touches an unplayable piece unless done in
accordance with WCDF section 1.22
Jumps into the king row with a single piece and immediately jumps out
Presses their clock before moving
IV. Additional Rules for Draw in Late Ending of Game
If nearing the end of a game (with adequate time
remaining on their time clock) and the position in a game is even, a player
whose draw offer has been refused has the power to ask the Referee to
intervene. If the Referee feels the position is even with little winning
chances to either player with reasonable care, the Referee has the power to
declare the game drawn, or else the game shall be continued to a normal
VI. IRS Requirements
players winning $600.00 or more in prizes must provide ACF with their Social
Security number at payoff in order to file IRS Form 1099. The American
Checker Federation is a 501(c)3 non-profit (pending).
VII. Junior Youth Division Rule of Play
Rules of play for the one-or-two-day Junior Youth Division, as applicable,
will be special, and will be explained at the start of the tournament.
VIII. Referee’s Pairing of Players
Referee will pair players only in the playing room with assistant referee or
at least two players to witness the pairings. Alternatively, a program may
be used, but it is advisable for the Referee to verify the software pairings
conform to Section Two-V rules on pairings. There will be no exception to
re-pair or to change pairings for brother, sister, friend, or travel
companion in early rounds or otherwise.
I. Suggested Amendments
Suggested amendments to these ACF NATIONAL TOURNAMENT RULES must be mailed
or presented to the ACF Executive Committee at least 90 days before the
start of the tournament. Any such changes will be adopted and inserted only
on approval of the Executive Committee. No additions or changes shall be
made later than 60 days prior to the tournament.